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Alex (Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy #2) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Upon winning the prestigious 2013 Crime Writers Association International Dagger Award, the judges praised Alex by saying, ?An original and absorbing ability to leash incredulity in the name of the fictional contract between author and reader . . . A police procedural, a thriller against time, a race between hunted and hunter, and a whydunnit, written from multiple points of view that explore several apparently parallel stories which finally ...
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Alex (Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy #2)

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Overview

Upon winning the prestigious 2013 Crime Writers Association International Dagger Award, the judges praised Alex by saying, “An original and absorbing ability to leash incredulity in the name of the fictional contract between author and reader . . . A police procedural, a thriller against time, a race between hunted and hunter, and a whydunnit, written from multiple points of view that explore several apparently parallel stories which finally meet.”
 
Alex Prévost—kidnapped, savagely beaten, suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse in a tiny wooden cage—is running out of time. Her abductor appears to want only to watch her die. Will hunger, thirst, or the rats get her first?
 
Apart from a shaky eyewitness report of the abduction, Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven has nothing to go on: no suspect, no leads, and no family or friends anxious to find a missing loved one. The diminutive and brilliant detective knows from bitter experience the urgency of finding the missing woman as quickly as possible—but first he must understand more about her.
 
As he uncovers the details of the young woman’s singular history, Camille is forced to acknowledge that the person he seeks is no ordinary victim. She is beautiful, yes, but also extremely tough and resourceful. Before long, saving Alex’s life will be the least of Commandant Verhoeven’s considerable challenges.

A 2013 Financial Times Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the 2014 RUSA Reading List Horror Award


From the Hardcover edition.

Co-winner of the 2013 CWA International Dagger Award

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
09/01/2013
A Paris detective with a past and a hostage with a history will shape each other in this sinister crime thriller. Police commandant Camille Verhoeven is a skilled detective struggling to cope with the brutal kidnapping and murder of his wife and unborn son. Alex Prevost is a beautiful young woman snatched off the street mere blocks from her apartment. She is next seen in a series of gruesome photographs—naked, filthy, and trapped in a wooden cage hung six feet above the ground in an abandoned warehouse. As Camille and his team race against the clock to rescue Alex, events occur that lead them to question whether she is truly a damsel in distress. This kicks off a series of plot twists that propel the reader toward an unsettling conclusion. Brutal, dark, and gory, this crime thriller, a best seller in Europe, will keep readers turning the pages until well past bedtime—with all the lights on, of course. VERDICT Celebrated French mystery author Lemaitre makes his U.S. debut with this tense work of detective fiction that is intended to be the first volume in a trilogy but functions equally well as a stand-alone novel. Fans of John Connolly, John Lutz, and Kevin O'Brien are apt to enjoy Lemaitre's graphic prose and contemporary noir style. The diminutive and complex Camille, standing at just under five feet, is a memorable sleuth, but for readers searching for a strong female protagonist, Alex Prevost remains a puzzle at novel's end. [Previewed in "A World of New Titles: Editors' Picks, LJ 7/13.—Ed.]—Liv Hanson, Chicago
Publishers Weekly
At the outset of French author Lemaitre’s impressive American debut, the first in a trilogy, attractive 30-year-old Alex Prévost is shopping for wigs in a Paris shop when she spots a man waiting on the street who’s clearly been following her. Perhaps he’s just an admirer who wants to meet her, she thinks. That night, after dining alone at a restaurant, Alex is accosted on the sidewalk by a man who, after discarding the wig he initially grabbed and seizing her by her real hair, throws her into a white van. Soon Alex finds herself trapped inside a wooden crate suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse. Meanwhile, Commandant Camille Verhoeven throws himself into the kidnapping investigation as a way to deal with his grief over his wife’s death, but he and his detectives have few clues to aid them in identifying Alex’s abductor. An irritant to his superiors but respected by his subordinates, Verhoeven uses his diminutive stature to unsettle witnesses and suspects while surprising them with his intelligence and wit. Some unexpected plot twists will keep readers turning the pages. 150,000-copy first printing. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Before you can say Gone Girl, he discovers the crime is far from random and Alex anything but an ordinary victim. This gritty page-turner, Alex, is the first in a promised trilogy.Plus, s'il vous plaît. A-"-Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly

“An auspicious English-language debut . . . With quiet virtuosity, Lemaitre moves the narrative through its various levels toward a concluding act of retribution that is both ingeniously conceived and immensely satisfying. Tricky, disturbing and ultimately affecting, Alex is a welcome addition to the rising tide of European crime fiction that has followed in the wake of Stieg Larsson’s death. Larsson’s many readers should take this book to their hearts and should find themselves waiting, with some degree of impatience, for the next Verhoeven novel to appear.”— Bill Sheehan, The Washington Post Book World

“An original and absorbing ability to leash incredulity in the name of the fictional contract between author and reader . . . A police procedural, a thriller against time, a race between hunted and hunter, and a whydunnit, written from multiple points of view that explore several apparently parallel stories which finally meet.”—CWA International Dagger Award Judges citation

"Genuinely unpredictable in a way few suspense novels are." —Charles Finch, USA Today

"Lemaitre’s plot is laid out with mathematical precision: a beautiful woman is kidnapped, stripped naked, thrown into a cage and subjected to the systematic torture of a brutal captor . . . Revenge narratives go all the way back to the Greeks, but it’s the vagina dentate component that sets a specimen like Alex apart, as Lemaitre adapts Larsson’s blueprint with moves of his own." —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

“Lemaitre’s impressive American debut . . . unexpected plot twists will keep readers turning the pages.”—Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed review)

"An eloquent thriller with a denouement that raises eyebrows as it speeds the pulse." —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Fascinating . . . filled with many twists and turns of plot along with a huge surprise.”—Connie Fletcher, Booklist
 
“Will keep you turning pages until well past your bedtime—with all the lights on, of course.”—Library Journal

“What begins as a search for a missing person soon becomes a beguiling series of investigations linked only by Alex, a Parisian version of Lisbeth Salander. Camille, volatile, brilliant and just under 5ft, is an equally riveting figure.”—John Dugdale, The Sunday Times

“Hypnotic . . . [a] remarkably determined and dangerous young woman—a woman who admittedly makes Lisbeth Salander look like Mary Poppins.”—Raven Crime Reads
 
“The winner of countless French crime-writing prizes, Lemaître is far too canny to join the ranks of thriller authors who merely revel in disturbing details and gory crimes. Where another novel would have finished, Alex is just beginning, and the book moves from read-as-fast-as-you-can horror to an intricately plotted race to a dark truth … There's humour here, and characters to return to, but really Alex is about thrills. And as the novel barrels triumphantly towards its unexpected but satisfying conclusion, it's in this respect that it deliver.”—Alison Flood, The Observer
 
“Relentlessly gripping . . . Various subtle variations of the crime novel are handled with aplomb . . . By page 200 you may believe that you're moving to a pulse-raising conclusion. But you will be wrong; in some senses, the novel has only just begun.”—Barry Forshaw, The Independent
 
“[With] a spectacular plot twist and the tension, along with the body count, mounts ever higher – an invigoratingly scary, one-sitting read.”—Laura Wilson, The Guardian
 
“What sets this work apart from the current crop of crime fiction is how utterly it confounds our expectations and challenges our moral certainties . . . [Alex is] book that will make you think, and one that any game reader will not easily forget.”—Christine Cremen, The Age (Melbourne)
 
“Fascinating, horrifying, not to be missed.”—Rolling Stone (Italy)
 
“Both a psychological thriller and a police procedural, it enthralls at every stage of its unpredictability . . . Grippingly original.”— Marcel Berlins, The Times
 
“A weaver of dark and disturbing crime fiction . . . Lemaître brings his stinging, bitter story to a genuinely unexpected conclusion. We are not in the comfortable world of Inspector Maigret here—this is harsh, fierce crime writing with a Gauloise tinge. It would not be out of place filmed in black-and-white by the late, lamented Francois Truffaut, who loved crime tales like this. ”—Geoffrey Wansell, The Daily Mail
 
“An off-beat and slightly surreal Parisian mystery . . . A warmly recommended read.”—Jessica Mann, Literary Review
 
“Lemaître has achieved a milestone with his new novel: half mystery, half thriller, 100 percent successful.”—Jean-Christophe Buisson, Le Figaro
 
“Divided into three distinct acts [Alex] offers an intriguing structure … Lemaitre is not only providing a fascinating variation of the traditional crime narrative but also a commentary on the genre itself. Hailed as the most important crime novel in translation since Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Alex similarly features as an intriguingly flawed feminist heroine bent on vengeance, and will likely prove a sensation of the crime fiction year.”—Declan Burke, The Irish Times
 
“Exhilarating, literary, Hitchcockian  . . . This new investigation of Commandant Camille Verhoeven resumes with the sense of suspense, the art of the unexpected twist, the play on emotions that so seduced us.”—Le Monde
 
“I was struck by Pierre Lemaitre’s short, sharp, staccato voice, right from the off. And it makes a gritty, hard-to-read-in-a-good-way tome that much more relentless . . . Paris is a dark, scary, borderline disgusting place, and like the rest of the characters in the book, is not blessed with any romantic flourishes. This is down and dirty, and not for the faint of heart . . . Lemaitre keeps it real, and really keeps it going: it is, I imagine, what it’s like to be in a car chase, in the movies. Kudos as well to the translator, Frank Wynne, who keeps the Gallic tone while perfectly infusing it with English idioms.”—Sue Conley, The Evening Herald (Dublin)
 
“The torture scenes are enough to make you squirm, with translator Frank Wynne retaining the natural flow of the French language while conveying the horrifying chapters with rats with frightening realism.”—The Herald Sun (Australia)

“Forget Scandi Noir: French noir is where it’s at. With torture scenes that make American Psycho read like Dear Zoo, it even has a Gone Girl-esque twist.”—Shortlist magazine

A top 10 Amazon best books pick, September 2013

"Every so often a crime thriller comes along that leaves you breathless . . . Alex is one such book and you are guaranteed a tale of the unexpected from start to finish. With its mesmerising female protagonist, and unique detective this is an absolute gem of a crime novel that is wonderfully dark, scary, mad, bad and dangerous to know, but just far too good to miss…"—Raven Crime Reads, Top 5 Crime Reads of 2013

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781623650018
  • Publisher: Quercus
  • Publication date: 9/3/2013
  • Series: Commandant Camille Verhoeven Series , #2
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 23,215
  • File size: 663 KB

Meet the Author

Pierre Lemaitre has worked for many years as a teacher of literature. His novels to date have earned him exceptional critical and public acclaim as a master of the crime novel and have won him the Prix du Premier Roman de Cognac 2006, the Prix du Meilleur Polar Francophone 2009, and the Prix du Polar Européen du Point 2010. Alex is his first novel to be translated into English, and won the presitigious 2013 Crime Writers Association International Dagger Award. In 2013 Lemaitre was the recipient of the prestigious Prix Goncourt, the highest literary honor in France, for Au revoir là-haut.
 
Frank Wynne has translated works by Michel Houellebecq, Boualem Sansal, and many more. He won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2005 for his translation of Frédéric Beigbeder's Windows on the World.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

Her life is a series of frozen images, a spool of film that has snapped in the projector—it is impossible for her to rewind, to refashion her story, to find new words. The next time she has dinner here, she might stay a little later, and he might be waiting for her outside when she leaves—who knows? Alex knows. Alex knows all too well how these things go. It’s always the same story. Her fleeting encounters with men never become love stories; this is a part of the film she’s seen many times, a part she remembers. That’s just the way it is.

It is completely dark now and the night is warm. A bus has just pulled up. She quickens her step, the driver sees her in the rearview mirror and waits. She runs for the bus but, just as she’s about to get on, changes her mind, decides to walk a little way. She signals to the driver, who gives a regretful shrug, as if to say Oh well, such is life. He opens the bus door anyway.

“There won’t be another bus after me. I’m the last one tonight . . .”

Alex smiles, thanks him with a wave. It doesn’t matter. She’ll walk the rest of the way. She’ll take the rue Falguière and then the rue Labrouste.

She’s been living near the Porte de Vanves for three months now. She moves around a lot. Before this, she lived near Porte de Clignancourt and before that on the rue du Commerce. Most people hate moving, but for Alex it’s a need. She loves it. Maybe because, as with the wigs, it feels like she’s changing her life. It’s a recurring theme. One day she’ll change her life.

A little way in front of her, a white van pulls onto the pavement to park. To get past, Alex has to squeeze between the van and the building. She senses a presence, a man; she has no time to turn. A fist slams between her shoulder blades, leaving her breathless. She loses her balance, topples forward, her forehead banging violently against the van with a dull clang; she drops everything she’s carrying, her hands flailing desperately to find something to catch hold of—they find nothing.
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Reading Group Guide

With hairpin plot twists, characters deep enough to confound a psychoanalyst, and an intense yet tasteful dose of heart-stopping violence, Alex by Pierre Lemaitre is an unforgettable experience that leaves readers with as many tantalizing questions as satisfying answers.
 
1. What are some of the narrative and descriptive techniques Pierre Lemaitre uses to create effective plot twists?
 
2. Does Commandant Verhoeven’s torment over the kidnapping and murder of his wife help or hinder his abilities to solve the case at the center of the novel? Does it seem that he believes he can find some measure of closure over Irene’s murder if he can solve this case?
 
3. At the end of the novel, do you believe the conclusion Verhoeven has reached about Alex’s motivations is accurate? Is Vasseur guilty? (If so, of what?) What might Verhoeven have—intentionally or not—overlooked?
 
4. After finishing, review the first chapter describing Alex’s “normal” day-to-day existence.
 
5. What clues does Lemaitre provide here that hint at what lies below the surface?
 
6. Is Alex a sympathetic character? Which of her actions can you justify or even relate to, and which do you find objectively repulsive?
 
7. Do you think Alex’s fear and acceptance of death is genuine when she is in captivity, or does it seem as though she is seeing several moves ahead, like a calculating chessmaster?
 
8. What is the significance to the novel of Maud Verhoeven, Commandant Verhoeven’s late mother who was a renowned painter? How does her “ghost”—as represented in her paintings and his memories—affect how he goes about his life and work?
 
9. Discuss the scene with Alex and Bobby, the devoutly religious truck driver. What do we learn about Alex’s attitudes towards God, spirituality and the afterlife? How do these attitudes manifest in her actions throughout the novel?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 4, 2013

    A serial killer, deviant sexual behavior and hungry rats. What

    A serial killer, deviant sexual behavior and hungry rats. What a story! I was a huge fan of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books and this book really reminded me of those. The heroine (?) is complicated and Commandant Verhoeven is such an original and interesting character.
    I really can't wait to read the next in the series!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

    Wow

    A thrill ride that never stops. Creepy. Methodical. Unforgettable characters. One of the BEST mystery/suspense books I have ever read. A must read NOW!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2014

    Great read

    This book had my interest all though each and every chapter. I recommend Alex highly

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2014

    When reading through the Goodreads reviews for this book, Alex,

    When reading through the Goodreads reviews for this book, Alex, it sounds as if the reviewers are divided into two camps: either you love this book, or you hate it.

    I loved it.

    From the start, we meet our main character, Alex. A man stalks her, kidnaps her, and puts her in a cage. He expresses his desire to watch her wither away. Meanwhile, the police starts an investigation into the kidnapping, and commandant Camille Verhoeven is set on the case. After his wife’s death, he rather stay away from cases of this nature, but the moment he starts investigating the kidnapping, he knows he can’t stop. He has to find this girl, and fast. But as the police gets closer to finding the culprit, they start to wonder – why did he kidnap Alex? Turns out that Alex may have some secrets of her own.

    This book is riddled with the unexpected. At first, I thought it would be a cut and dry story of how a girl gets kidnapped, and the police tries to find her. But then, an unexpected twist hit me straight in the face, so to speak, and I was hooked. From that point on, there are twists everywhere. As we delve deeper into the characters and their pasts, we learn truths we never thought possible.

    If you want a thriller that has it all, from a relentless pace, to shocking twists, to gruesome descriptions that make your stomach turn inside out, to characters you can’t decide whether you should like them or hate them, then you need to read Alex. I stayed up until 4 am to read this book – that’s how awesome it is. No self-respecting thriller fan can miss out on this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A very twisted tale. This book takes you on a wild ride with uni

    A very twisted tale. This book takes you on a wild ride with unique characters and storyline. Very reminiscent of Steig's three stories, but it is also quite different. At first, you think Alex is a victim of a horrible abduction. The police, especially Commandant Verhoeven (who is duped into heading up this investigation by his superior) and his staff, undertake an investigation to find a woman who has not been reported missing with no leads whatsoever. Slowly the case evolves and the details and ensuing violence make this book extremely fascinating. The author has written more books but this is the first book to be translated in English. I hope more of the books are translated into English.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2013

    An outstanding book in every regard. The characters were intere

    An outstanding book in every regard. The characters were interesting, the writing was both foreign and concise and the mystery was well off the beaten path. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2013

    A twisted police procedural

    Like all of the reviews I have read you can not discuss this book without giving it away so let me tell you like this. The book is broke into three parts, in the first Alex of the title gets kidnapped like the cover flap says with the police not even knowing her name. Yet by the end of section one you get a twist. Section 2 begins and by its end again you think you know what is happened and you will be wrong. With section 3 you really have no clue what will happen and get a very dark resolution with you wanting more. The main characters Alex and Camille and his partners a amazingly complex and I can not wait to see more of them. Though I can not read French, I believe it is a great translation and gives you a good feel for this French setting. I will say that if you are squeamish at all this may not be the book for you, however if you liked Stigg Larson's books, or any of the other books from Scandinavian detectives like me then this book ay be for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2013

    Great Read

    This book is deserving of its accolades. The twists and turns keep you wanting to read more. I am interested in reading more translations by him.
    Thanks Pierre!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Great Story, Lots of Twist, This is one you don't want to miss.

    The story starts with Alex getting kidnapped and locked in a small crate. The man doesn’t say much beyond the fact that he wants to watch her die. At the same time, Camille Verhoeven has been given this case. It is hard for him since it is so close to what happened with his own wife. Camille is in a race against time to save Alex, a girl he knows nothing about. But things take a strange twist and Camille is on board unwillingly to find Alex and figure out what is really going on.

    It is so hard to review this book without giving away too many details. You have to discover them along the way. I have a love and hate relationship with Alex. You feel sorry for her, hate her actions, and then want to cry. Camille is very wrapped up in his own past and seems distracted with this case, but he does keep working to find out what really happened to Alex.

    This is a great story! There are great twists and turns, wonderful characters, and a horrifying ending. Be warned, the ending is a bit graphic, it works well for the book but it wraps everything up nicely.

    This is one book that you don’t want to miss. Now I want to read the other books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2014

    Brilliant whydunnit. What¿s going on with Alex and mostly why? W

    Brilliant whydunnit.
    What’s going on with Alex and mostly why? Who is she, what’s her past? If you are ready to see humanity in the horrific mask it sometimes wear, follow police commandant Camille along suspenseful twists and turns to uncover the multiple layers of this tragic life. You won’t put the book down before its last page.
    I recently presented to you Irène, so this is the sequel: Alex. Very good too, it will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s definitely not your usual crime fiction.

    Pierre Lemaitre manages again to orchestrate a complex crime novel rich with many layers.

    The book opens with Alex. She’s an agency nurse, in her thirties, but still very pretty, though rather insecure and full of self-doubt. As she is trying wigs in a shop, she realizes with fear that a man seems to be following her. Thinking he finally left, she gets out of the store, to be actually abducted later on by that very man.

    From then on, the plot thickens. Be ready for a crazy ride, with turns and twists you won’t see coming. Be prepared also for awful scenes both at the beginning at the book and really all along, both physically and psychologically speaking. For indeed this is an important layer that Lemaitre uses here. And as the synopsis highlights, it’s actually more a whydunnit than a whodunnit, that will lead you from one track to the next until finally you get it, unless it keeps you still wandering once you turn the last page.

    The whole crime setting is also set on the background of Camille’s grieving over the death of his wife and mother, another interesting layer, that makes him first take the case very reluctantly, but then makes him extremely and personally involved, as if desperately trying to save a young woman would redeem what happened to his own wife four years earlier. Because of that, he is more edgy than in the first book, more fragile, more extreme, but still always so astute, seeing beyond what other protagonists would quickly judge as a closed case. No, Camille always wants to understand why.

    I also liked the layer of his friendly relationship with the guys of his team.

    As for the construction of the book, the suspense going back and forth between Alex and Camille pushes to the limit of suspense you can bear. And the ending is just brilliant, with the question of choice between truth or justice.Lemaitre shows a fascinating if not horrific facet of human resilience and complexity, but telling you more would reveal too much. You will just have to read it, but be sure to read Irène first. I actually found Irène even more brilliant, because of the extra layer of literary construction going with it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2014

    Jaw Breaker

    Yes

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2014

    I do not know

    Evrey body else is saying it is good so i am asuming it is good so will you right more revews so i can see if i want it. Please right more revews.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2013

    Well Done with Surprising Twists

    Although not for the squeamish, this is a book that will keep you interested and surprise you at the end of each of its three sections. I thought the first section was the strongest and the most original, but it held my interest to the end.

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  • Posted September 3, 2013

    If I may be so bold, I¿d like to begin at the end and say there¿

    If I may be so bold, I’d like to begin at the end and say there’s definitely a “disturbance in the creative force.” Or at least that was my first thought after completing this novel.

    If I didn’t want to embrace books with a warm hug and proceed to shove them out into the world by talking about them, promoting them, and engaging in lively discussions with informed readers across the space and time continuum for the rest of my life without fail, I could very easily just write ALEX off and move on with my life, rubbing my palms together, and then ducking under an overpass while the train rocks the tracks above my head. But that wouldn’t be okay, and it certainly isn’t a productive use of my time. Maybe I’m half-sensitive, half-crazy, prone to second-guessing, and have enough of an ego that I feel like I need to somehow be a productive member of society and make some sort of contribution before I dissipate off this Earth faster than a fart in the New Mexican wind, so here we are, wonderful reader and I, dancing the tango over yet another book review. Where I will hope to impart a few thoughts, informed opinions, and constructive criticisms, and you can pretend that you actually give a flying fart.

    Here are a few of the issues:
    Constant telling to the point that I wanted to rip my hair out? Check.
    Inside Alex’s head way too much, to the point that I could set up camp, read a newspaper, and smoke a cigarette while balancing a tumbler on my left knee? Check.
    Shaggy dialogue? Check.
    Exclamation point minefields? Check.
    Not getting to the point? Check.
    Am I making myself clear? No.
    Piss-poor similes and metaphors? Check.
    Overstated, redundant, bloated prose? Check.
    Stilted, stiff, wooden, overformal, mannered, and pretentious dialogue? Check.
    Overemphasis on ellipses? Check.
    Repetitious to the point that I thought I had developed CRS disease? Check.
    Drama and heightened tension sucked out of the prose faster than a Hoover by mediocre writing? Check.
    Excessive stammering to the point that I wanted to offer speech lessons? Check.
    Mystery? Possibly but it was a side car on this happy train.
    A supposed thriller minus most of the thrills? Check.
    Plenty of clichés? Check.
    Immediate and unexplained epiphanies? Check.
    Brings words like pussyfooting to the foray? Check.
    Penchant for passive voice? Check.
    Almost seemed to switch POV in the middle of a few scenes? Check.
    Editing comments that were both annoying and frustrating and over explained the difference between French and English? Check. (This should be fixed upon the official release, otherwise readers are in for a real treat.)

    For the first two-thirds or so of this tale, Alex Prevost just might have been my least favorite character of all time. I’m not sure I could have looked at her, or even been in the same room with her, and being in her head for so long proved rather torturous, corrupting me on more than one level. *BEGIN SPOILER* But once I did understand the motivations for her actions, she did grow on me however slightly, even though it was probably a bit too late in the game for me to come full circle in my way of thinking. And the ending itself proved a bit farfetched even for this roller-coaster-induced tale. *END SPOILER*

    I received this book for free through NetGalley.

    Robert Downs
    Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

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